Recklessness leads to precautions


The car flipped upside down and began to roll off the freeway.
It came to an abrupt stop when it smashed into a tree. Flames appeared and smoke billowed out of the windows.
Oct. 20 is vivid for senior Devin Burnett who was in the car at the time of the accident. He remembers coming in and out of consciousness — his body in shock. Attempting to stand, but his legs wouldn’t allow him to. His friend pulled him out of the car before he could be burned too severely.
“When I first got in the car I got a bad feeling in my gut,” Burnett said.
“Looking back, I think it was a sign.”
He didn’t even realize they were going to crash until the car actually flipped upside down.
Burnett was in the car with three other people. “They had been drinking,” he said. There was music playing. The driver, messing around, began to drift. His expression changes as he remembers the fear he felt.
Waking up a week later in a hospital room, he discovered wires and cords attached to his body, his hand cuffed to the bed. He had a desperate need for water. The only nourishment his body was receiving was through the IV.
“I remember panicking when I woke up because I thought my best friend was dead,” Burnett said.
“My mom, stepdad and best friend were there to calm me down.” They helped him remember what had happened and why he was in the hospital.
Showing his scars, Burnett said the injuries he suffered from the crash were a broken leg, arm and a severe foot injury. All of the injuries were caused from a tree piercing his flesh. He recalls the nurse telling him that he could have died in the car from the smoke causing his lungs to expand or the amount of blood he had lost. He felt lucky to even be alive. Burnett’s mother attempted to stop the blood transplant he desperately needed, since it is against Jehovah Witnesses’ belief to give or receive blood. However, he had just turned 18 so the hospital proceeded with the transplant anyway.
“I feel like God was with me in the car that day,” he said. He credits the tree that stopped him from being plunged into the river
Burnett was the only one injured from the crash. The driver is currently in prison, and he has since lost contact with the other passengers.
“Everyone thought I had died,” he said. That assumption made coming back to school hard. He worried that people would make fun of his casts and the fact he was walking with crutches.
After the accident, Burnett experienced a recurring dream.
“I would go through a normal day at school,” he said. “Then after school I would get in that car and relive the accident over and over.” Burnett continues to experience a lot of anxiety while riding in a car since the accident. He would take a deep breath at every turn and driving on the freeway was difficult.
Looking back at the accident, Burnett regrets getting in the car that day and swears to use better judgment next time. He hopes his story will change other’s perspective of drinking and or getting in the car with someone who has. He wouldn’t have been “goofing” off with his friends.
“Everyone in the car was distracted,” said Burnett. “If I could redo that day, I would make sure we were more focused on the road.”
Having been through so much during and after the accident, Burnett manages to stay positive and look on the bright side of things.
“I thought I was going to die,” he said. “I am so thankful to still be alive.”